Return of the [Pirate] Jigga

The Wall Street Journal is all worked up about Jay-Z’s p2p-pimpin’ for Coke’s Stageside site (which directs you to download video files directly or via direct links to BitTorrent, Gnutella and the like).

Is the industry *finally* comin round the bend? The article — titled “Record Labels Turn Piracy Into a Marketing Opportunity” details what could be considered (to put it nicely) the industry taking a wide turn. An alternate (if not more accurate) title in a more reality-based publication could be “Record Labels Think p2p is Just Another Way to Own You.”

According to the WSJ, the old-school “decoy” technique, in which bad-karma’d companies like ARTISTdirect flood the p2p networks with fakes of “as many as 30 of the Billboard Top 100” to frustrate users to endlessly search for a legit copy of a song instead of hearing it once and then buying the record (not to mention, the title of the song spikes up to the top of the search charts as a result of the neverending-search-for nothing corporat practical joke). Since this is a Public Diplomacy course, let’s just make a stretch and call it the carrot-stick approach.

Unfortunately, big media still thinks it has the upper hand and somehow must *fight* p2p and other “free” media-sharing, especially in light of the 2005 Grokster decision. From the WSJ article:

Before the ruling, record labels worried that they might undercut their legal arguments if they used peer-to-peer sites for their own purposes. Now, “we’re basically free to exploit these billions of fake files we’re putting out,” says Randy Saaf, chief executive of MediaDefender.

MediaDefender is the p2p-weasling company that was bought out by ARTISTdirect last year. Somehow — or I’m not reading it right — the WSJ scribes are buying into MediaDefender’s notion of “marketing,” but frankly it’s no different than me sharing a hundred fake mp3’s on the old Napster and listing them as Metallica cuts.
courtesy WSJ.comThe chart to the left, featured in the WSJ article, is from BigChampagne, the same online media measuring company that confirmed that — in terms of “moving units” — Danger Mouse’s “Grey Album” was in a stratosphere to itself on Feb. 24, 2004, or Grey Tuesday, when we all went grey and/or hosted the Album. Today, BigChampagne has courted Nielsen and claims to be “the leading provider of information about popular entertainment online.”

Jay-Z, needless to say, never had a problem with the mashup concept and lo, his fortunes have only grown. Nearly two years later, might *some* of the majors be finally getting it? Turn up that Young Dro and stay tuned . . .

(More digressive irony: The top Google results for listen to the grey album are ARTISTdirect-hosted pages.
Search via Yahoo! audio search, however, and it’s all there!)

Must-See Katrina Video

‘Orgullosos de Estar Aqui’ [Spanish for “proud to be here”] is a ten-minute feature for Current TV on the Latino workforce in post-Katrina New Orleans and features interviews and footage of the ongoing racial tension in the continual rebuilding of the city.

I highly encourage you to watch this video and pass it along to friends as this is one hook on the Katrina story that the media has completely missed.

Future of Web Apps Summit Podcasts

MP3s and video of most of the speaker presentations from last month’s FoWA summit in San Francisco are now available for public consumption. Chow them down here.

Also: Here’s a collection of links to the great PowerPoint presentations of some of the speakers:

Speaker Presentation Slides

The Small Print Project

I launched my big school-related project today with the help of a posting from my instructor, Cory Doctorow, on Boing Boing.

Please visit the project and provide input, insight, and thoughts if you could!

What’s the Small Print Project?

I explain it briefly on the site’s About page, but Cory sums it up even better here:

looks to catalog all the “agreements” we find ourselves “consenting to” when we open a box, install a program, sign up for a service or visit a website. These “terms and conditions,” “terms of use” and “end-user license agreements” do terrible violence to the noble agreement, backing us into arrangements that no sane individual would ever agree to. Sony’s DRM made you promise to delete your music if your house burned down; Amazon Unbox lets them spy on your computer and shut down your videos if they don’t like what they see. And it doesn’t stop there. Think of the “agreements” on the back of your dry-cleaning tickets, on your plane tickets, in your credit-card statements, and your cellular phone contract.

Check out The Small Print Project! Thanks.

50th Anniversary of Dizzy Gillespie’s State Dept-Sponsored World Tour

“The music of Dizzy Gillespie spoke the language of freedom: the freedom to think; to innovate; and to speak in one’s own voice,” said U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in video-recorded remarks to open the 50th anniversary commemoration of Dizzy Gillespie’s State Department-sponsored world tour at the University of Southern California’s Bovard Hall (watch video of Sec. Rice’s remarks here).

Special guests stars joined USC’s Thornton Jazz Band for a performance of Dizzy Gillespie classics as they were heard on the 1956 tour. On trumpet, Jon Faddis, who performed with Dizzy Gillespie since he was a teenager. His sound at USC was still powerful, lyrical, unpredictable and bright. Gillespie himself once said of his protege: “he’s the best ever, including me!”

Saxophonist James Moody performed in Dizzy Gillespie’s bands on and off since the 1940’s. His role in the 1956 world tour was indirect but significant, as Quincy Jones noted later in the night, when Jones called Moody up to thank him onstage.

‘Thanks, Brother’

Moody thanks Quincy“I’ve wanted to say this for 50 years. If it wasn’t for this man – I wouldn’t be up here today,” Jones in thanking James Moody with an emotional embrace. “That man is the bomb!” Jones said of Moody, who recommended the young arranger and musician to be the 1956 band’s music director (which entailed, among other things, arranging and rehearsing a the national anthems of dozens of countries).

The dialogue quickly shifted from prose and praise to jazz as the USC Thornton Jazz Band struck up the opening bass line of “A Night in Tunisia.” USC Thornton Jazz Band with Jon Faddis and James MoodyThe capacity audience at Bovard Hall was treated to an hour-long sampling of the music performed on the 1956 world tour, including compositions by Quincy Jones and Benny Golson, all featuring virtuosic solos from Moody and the visually inspired Faddis, evoking Dizzy in both sound and physical appearance, save for the signature bent-skyward trumpet used by Gillespie in the 50s and 60s.

John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie was already internationally famous 1956, primarily due to his exposure on Voice of America. In 1955, VOA launched it’s “Jazz Hour,” hosted by Willis Conover, which quickly grew into the stations most popular program, enjoyed by tens of millions of listeners in eighty countries, six nights a week.

As Quincy Jones explained, it didn’t take long for the band to realize the impact of their music.

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